After my first week with Teatro Metaphora as a volunteer I am happy to see it all developing. Something that started as an idea, a dream one warm summer evening turned into a full scale project with EU support and attractive future, and I am honored to be not only a part of the process but also a living evidence that it takes a man bold and daring enough to dream, to believe in his dreams and turn them into reality.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Anastasia and I come from Ukraine. I worked as a coordinator for volunteers, and now decided to try standing in volunteer’s shoes myself.
I am writing these lines watching a lizard sneaking from the kitchen to the bathroom. It’s been living with us all the time and I guess after a couple more weeks we will give it a name.
Natural and man-made are so much integrated here in Madeira. Houses build in rocks and green palms streaking out of houses, same warmth everywhere which makes you wonder if you are inside or outside, wild plants in flower pots and cultivated plants in the open gardens, all and all many wonders to witness.
I’ve been to Madeira before and wrote about interesting things on the island. But there is something that skipped my attention and now allows to be discovered – gradually, mildly.
We all know that the island is a popular tourist destination due to its natural attractions: hiking routes, levadas, volcanic rocks, flowers and oceanic views.
But there is no bigger fan and admirer of all this natural abundance than the local people.
Some might think that when you are surrounded by such beauty every day you become insensitive to it. People from Camara de Lobos, our city, prove: it’s wrong.
Have you seen the Avatar movie by Steven Spielberg? Madeirans treat their island the same sacred way as locals on Pandora planet.
Even more: last week we had a walking trip to levadas and our friends wanted to show us banana maracujas – a wild plant that grows in the forest. Next day during the office meeting our colleague Lidia, an active environmentalist, had a say. She commented that if it wasn’t for the wild maracuja that expands too fast and interferes with other plants, she would have been mad with us for ripping the fruit. “All the plants in Madeira are symbiotic, everything is connected. If you destroy even a tiny bit you never know to what consequences it might lead”. How simple and strong it is, don’t you think?
Later other colleagues told us about Laurissilva of Madeira, a special type of subtropical forest found in areas with high humidity and relatively stable, mild temperatures. Raquel, our friend and Portuguese teacher said there are some types of plants that from the whole planet are present only in this region – Madeira, Açores, Canárias and Cabo Verde. Naturally, they are preserved and taken care of. In Madeira people even chase away goats from the mountain hills because they were eating those precious species for breakfast.
This knowledge and attitude is something to be discovered during our volunteering project. Maybe this is how our integration begins. And this is all about the “Green Steps” project of Teatro Metaphora.